THEY SAY BLUE by Jillian Tamaki


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Readers experience the colors and sensations of the world through the varying moods and observations of one little girl.

A golden-skinned child with straight black hair frolics in the water, noticing that the sea looks blue from a distance. “But when I hold the water in my hands, it’s as clear as glass.” She ponders hidden colors, from the orange of the yolk nestled inside an egg to the red blood that is always pumping through her body, whether she is calm and quiet or running across a playground filled with ethnically diverse children in school uniforms. Her mood soars as she imagines riding a boat over waving yellow grass but comes thudding down to earth as she disembarks from her school bus beside said grassy field, stepping into the cold grayness of a rainy day. The exuberant joys of spring and summer, the return of autumn, and the natural slowing down of winter’s return mark the passage of time. The poetic language pairs well with the acrylic-and-Photoshop paintings. Most of the artwork conveys movement and feeling rather than being meticulously literal—such as when the girl muses about the color of blue whales and impressionistic dabs of darker blue form the flukes of a whale beneath her—with the startling exception of the detailed, highly realistic spread of crows taking flight.

Neither exactly a book about colors nor exactly a book about seasons, this is a reminder to slow down, savor the present, notice small details, and relish childlike wonder. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2851-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


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